SFL- based Analysis of Thematic Structure of the Qurʾān (19:41-50): Some Reflections

Zaid Alamiri

Abstract


The present study is an endeavor to explore applying Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) to the oldest Arabic text (the Qurʾān). The study point of departure is the textual metafunction (of the Sura 19:41-50), focusing principally on thematic structure (Theme-Rheme) for its role first in organizing the linguistic resources of both the experiential and interpersonal meanings in text production; and secondly in message unfolding. The salient results are the followings:  the use of   the three types of Theme (i.e., textual, interpersonal and topical).  The topical Theme, important in message unfolding, it is essentially realized by the verbal group in the declarative clause. By virtue of verbal inflection, the bound pronominal markers, expressing Subject in Mood system and the Participant in the transitivity system, expands Theme boundary to better reflect Arabic clause structure. As to Theme orientation, the semantic aspect of Theme function , it is seen that the interaction of  the verbal-locution- projection, modalization of Theme, in particular,  and other elements contributed to the saliency of interpersonal meanings. Though the Qurʾānic Arabic, of this narrative, lends itself for SFL analysis, the results should be interpreted as an approximation that needs further studies. That Theme, in this study, is register specific is too early to consider as comprehensive analysis of Qurʾānic narrative register is required to support these results. Finally, analyzing the Qurʾānic Arabic provides a support for SFL universality; and at the same time, SFL, as a sociosemiotic linguistic theory, offers new avenues to better understand the Qurʾānic texts in many ways.


Full Text:

PDF

References


ʿAbdul-Raof, H. (1998). Subject, theme and Agent in Modern Standard Arabic. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press.

Abu Zayd, H.N. (1995). An-naṣ wal Sulṭa wal Ḥaqiqa. Moroco and Beirut: almarkaz ath-thaqāfī al-ʿarabī.

al-ʿAwādy, A. (2011). Siyāq l-ḥāl Fī Kitāb Sibawayh. Jordan: Dār al-Ḥāmid.

al-Jarudy, L. (2011). Ideological Representations in English and Arabic News Reports. PhD.Heriot-Watt University.http://www.ros.hw.ac.uk/handle/10399/2459.

alJurjānī, ʿAbd al-Qāhir. (2000). Dalāʾil al-ʾiʿjāz. Cairo: Maktabat al-Xanchī.

al-Maxzumi, M. (1986). Fī l-naḥw al-ʿarabī: Naqd wa-tawjīh. Beirut : Dār ar-Raʾid al-ʿarabī.

Anghelescu, N. (2006). Theme/ Rheme. In eds. K. Versteegh, M. Eid, A. Elgibali, M. Woidich and A. Zaborski (Eds.) Encyclopaedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics.v.4 (PP. 484-487).Leiden & Boston: Brill.

as-Samarraʾì, F. (2000). Maʿaāni l-naḥw-vol1. ʿAmman: Dār al-Fikr.

as-Samarraʾì?, I. (1983). al-fiʿl zamānahu wa -bunyatahu. 3rd ed. Beirut :Muʾasassat ar-Rissala.

Baalbaki, R. (2008). The legacy of the Kitab. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

Badawi, El.d, Carter,M. & Gully,A. (2016). Modern Written Arabic. A Comprehensive Grammar.2nded. Revised by Maher Awad. London & NY: Routledge.

Baker, M. (1992). In Other Words: A Course book on Translation. London: Routledge.

Barakat, I. (2007). an-naḥw al-ʿarabī. Vol1 Egypt: Dār an-Našr liljamiʿaāt.

Beeston, A. F. L. (1968). Written Arabic. An approach to the basic structures. London & N Y: Cambridge University Press.

Böwering, G. (2003). The Qurʾān as the Voice of God. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 147(4), 347-353.

Butler, Ch. T. Miriam. (2008). Layering in structural-functional grammars. Linguistics 46(4): 689-956.

Btler,Ch (2003). Structure and Function: A Guide to Three Major structural-functional theories, v.1. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Carter, M. (2007). . Grammatical Tradition: History. In K. Versteegh , M.Eid, A. Elgibali, M. Woidich, A. Zaborski (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Arabic language & Linguistics, v.2 (PP.182-191).Leiden/Boston :Brill.

Ditters, E. (1992). A formal approach to Arabic syntax: the noun phrase and the verb phrase.http://repository.ubn.ru.nl/handle/2066/114149.

Downing, A. (2006). English Grammar: A University Course. 2nd ed. London & NY: Routledge.

Fatani, A. (2006). “Language and the Quran. In O. Leaman (Ed.), The Qurʾān: an Encyclopaedia (PP.356-372). London: Routledge.

Fontaine, L., T.Bartlett and G. O'Grady (Eds) (2013). Systemic Functional Linguistics. Exploring Choice. NY: Cambridge University Press.

Forey, G. (2002). “Aspects of theme and their role in workplace texts. Unpublished Ph.D., http://theses.gla.ac.uk/5385/.

Gerot,L. and P. Wignell.1995. Making sense of Functional Grammar. Queensland (Australia):Antipodean Educational Enterprises.

Goldenberg, G. (1988). Subject and predicate in Arab grammatical tradition. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 138,39-73.

Graber, Ph. (2001). Context in Text: A Systemic Functional Analysis of the Parable of the Sower. www.isfla.org/Systemics/Print/Theses/PhilipGraberDiss.pdf

Graham, W.(1984). “The earliest Meaning of ‘Qurʾān’. Die Welt des Islams, 23/24:361-377.

Günther, S. (2003). Literacy. In J. D. McAuliffe (Ed.) Encyclopedia of the Qurʾān, v. 3(PP. 188-192). Leiden /Boston: Brill.

Halliday, M.A.K & C. Matthiessen. (2014). Introduction to Functional Grammar, 4th ed. London: Routledge.

Halliday, M.A.K & R. Hasan (1976). Cohesion in English. London: Longman.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1978). Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning. London: Arnold.

Halliday, M.A.K. (2000/1994). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, 2nd ed. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Halliday, M.K.A (2002/1971). Linguistic function and literary style: an inquiry into the language of William Golding’ The Inheritors. In J. J. Webster (Ed.) Linguistic Studies of Text and Discourse, (PP.88-125), (v.2 the Collected Works of M. A. K Halliday). London/New York: Continuum.

Halliday, M.A.K (2007/1978). An Interpretation of the Functional Relationship between Language and Social Structure. In In J. J. Webster (Ed.). Language and Society, (PP.251-264) , ( v.10 the Collected Works of M. A. K Halliday). London/ New York: Continuum.

Hasan, R. and P. Fries (Eds.). (1995). On Subject and Theme: a discourse Functional Perspective. John Benjamins, Amsterdam Philadelphia.

Holes, C. (2004). Modern Arabic structure, function and varieties. Georgetown University Press,Washington.

Ibn al-Xašāb, ʾAbū Muḥammad ʾAbdulla b. Aḥmad (1972). Al-murtajal Fi Šarḥ al-Jumal. Damascus.

Ibn as-Sarraj, ʾAbū Bakr Muḥammad 1996. al-ʾUṣūl fī l-naḥw-I. Beirut: Muʾassasat ar-Risāla.

Ibn ʾAšur, Muḥammad al-Ṭāher,(1984). Tafsir Attaḥrir wat Tanuir. adDār attunisiyah lilnašr.

Ibn Jinnī, ʾAbū l-Fatḥ ʿUt̠mān Ibn Jinnī: al-Xasạ̄ʾis.̣ Ed. M. ʿA. al-Najjār. 3 vols. Cairo: al-Hayʾa l-Miṣriyya l-ʿĀmma li-l-Kitāb, 1986–1988.

Ibn ʿUsfur, ʿAlī b. Muʾmin. (1998). Šarḥ Jumal az-Zajjājī-I. Beirut: Dār alKotob al-ʾILmiyah..

Ibn Yaʿīš Muwaffaq al-Dīn (2001).Šarḥ al-mufaṣṣal-I. Beirut: Dār alKotob al-ʾILmiyah.

Kamel, S.(2002). The textual components in Classical Arabic. investigating information structure. In S. Boudelaa (Ed.), Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics: Papers from the Sixteenth Annual Symposium on Arabic Linguistics, v. 16(PP. 103-130). Cambridge: John Benjamins.

Lavid, J., & Moratón,L. (2015). Intersubjective positioning and thematisation in English and Spanish: a contrastive analysis of letters to the editor. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 14(1), 289-319.

Lavid, J., J. Arús & J. R. Zamorano – Mansilla. (2010). Systemic Functional Grammar of Spanish. London: Continuum.

Levin, A. (1981). The grammatical terms al-musnad, al-musnadʾilayhi and al-ʾisnād. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 101(2): 145-165.

Marogy, A. (2010). Kitāb Sibawayhi. Syntax and Pragmatics. Brill: Leiden/ Boston.

Matthiessen, C. (1992). Interpreting Textual Metafunction. In M. Davies & L. Ravelli (Eds.), Advances in Systemic Linguistics: recent theory and practice: 37¬-¬¬¬¬-82 London & NY: Pinter.

Matthiessen, C.(1995). THEME enabling resource ideational ‘knowledge’ construction. In M. Ghadessy (Ed.), Thematic development in English texts: 20-45. Pinter: London & NY.

Montemayor-Borsinger, A. (2011).“theme” and “subject” in systemic functional linguistics: a discussion of thematic status. Cadernos de Linguagem e Sociedade, 12 (1):66-77.

Munday, J.( 2000). Using systemic functional linguistics as an aid to translation between Spanish and English: maintaining the thematic development of the ST. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 40:37-58.

Neuwirth, A. (2006). Structure and the emergence of community. In A.Rippin (Ed.), he Blackwell companion to the Qurʾān: 140-158. London: Blackwell.

Neuwirth, A. (2007). Structural, linguistic and literary Features. In J.D. McAuliffe (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to the Qurʾān:97-113. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.

ʿObiedat, N. (1994). The presentation of thematic structure in the translation of English and Arabic political discourse. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Durham.

Owens, J. M.Yavrumyan. 2006. “Participle. In K. Versteegh, M. Eid, A. Elgibali, M. Woidich and A. Zaborski (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics .Volume2, (PP. 542-546). Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Owens, J. (1988). The Foundations of Grammar. An Introduction to Medieval Grammatical Theory. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Paret, R. (1983). “The Qurʾān-I. In A. F. L. Beeston, T. M. Johnstone, R. B.Serjeant , G.Rex Smith (Eds.), Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period,(PP.196-199). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Peled, Y. (2009). Sentence type Word Order Patterns in Written Arabic. Medieval and Modern Perspectives”. Leiden Boston: Brill.

Rammuny, R. (1985). al-Jurjānī: a pioneer of grammatical and linguistic studies. Historiographia Linguistica 12(3), 351-371.

Ravelli, L.(1995). A Dynamic Perspective: Implications for Metafunctional Interaction and an Understanding of Theme. In R. Hasan, P. H. Fries (Eds.), On Subject and Theme,(PP. 187-234). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Ryding, K. (2005). A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sībawayh Abū Bišr ʿUmar Ibn ʿUṯmān (1988). Al-Kitāb I-II. Cairo Maktabat al-Xanchī.

Talmon, R. (1988). Al-kalam ma kana muktafiyan bi-nafsihi wa-huwa l-gumla": A Study in the history of sentence-concept and the Sibawaihian legacy in Arabic grammar. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 138: 74-97

Thompson, G. (2006). Theme in Text. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language

and Linguistics (PP. 658-668). Oxford: Elsevier Science.

Thompson, G. (2007). Unfolding theme: the development of clausal and textual perspectives on theme. In R. Hasan, C.M.I.M. Matthiessen, J. Webster (Eds.), Continuing Discourse on Language: functional perspectives, Volume2 (PP. 671-696), London: Equinox.

Thompson, G. (2013). Introducing Functional Grammar. 3rd ed. London NY: Routledge.

Versteegh, K. (2007). ’Inna wa-axawatuha. In K. Versteegh ,M.Eid, A. Elgibali, M. Woidich,A. Zaborski (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, v. 2(PP. 354-358). Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Versteegh, K. ( 2007). Isnad. In K. Versteegh ,M.Eid, A. Elgibali, M. Woidich,A. Zaborski (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, v.2(PP. 434-437). Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Versteegh, K. (2014). The Arabic Language. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Weiss, B. (1985). Subject and Predicate in the Thinking of the Arabic Philologists. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 105(4), 605-622.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5750/bjll.v11i0.1560

www.bjll.org